Business computers and pieces of hardware see a lot of use, which means they unfortunately won’t last forever. A lot of companies tend use IT equipment until it breaks, and then think about replacing it, but this is very counter-intuitive. You could end up losing more money through lost productivity and time when a piece of important equipment breaks than it would cost to proactively replace the equipment earlier. That’s before you consider the time lost when PCs and laptops start slowing down until eventually giving up. So if you should think about replacing IT equipment early, how do you know when it’s time?

How Often Should Your Replace Your IT?

As a general rule you should look at replacing servers every 5 years, desktop PCs every 4 years, laptops every 3 years and smaller devices such as mobile phones every couple of years. This is just a guide of course, and quite often you’ll find that some machines will last longer, but putting a formal replacement procedure in place ensures your business’s productivity will not suffer as a result of outdated IT.

How To Tell If Your IT Needs Replacing

A slow running PC is an obvious indicator that you may need to update your machines. There are steps you can take to improve the speed in the short-mid term, but long term, you will need to think about replacing a PC that is running slowly. Another sign you need to update hardware is when new software will not operate properly on your machines. Newer software and updates can be taxing on old devices, and in some cases will not be compatible (depending on the age of your PC or device). For businesses, this is obviously not an ideal situation to be in, which is why you should stay on top of your IT management. If you can’t run the latest software, the service you provide to your clients may be limited, and overall productivity could suffer.

Tracking Your IT

If you have a larger business with lots of machines and devices, it can be difficult to keep track of it all and identify which parts of your IT need updating. If you don’t outsource your IT support, you will have to rely on individual reports from your team about how their machines are running. If you do have an IT support provider, then they will be able to monitor this for you and will be able to make recommendations based on the frequency of issues they see.

How To Replace Your IT

If you are looking to replace business hardware, the most practical solution is to contact an IT consultancy to carry out an audit. This will give you an inventory of all your IT equipment, including details of the exact models and probable age of them. You will then need to decide on which pieces of technology you are looking to upgrade. If you go for a mass upgrade of your hardware, or areas of your IT, you may be able to save money or even be eligible for funding. You will also be in a situation where everyone in your team is using the same equipment, rather than having a small group using newer technology. Going forward, this allows you to accurately track the age of your technology too.

Obviously, this can require a large financial commitment up front, and so a staged refresh of your IT may be the way to go. You should prioritise devices that are known to be underperforming, or identify the high risk (i.e. the oldest) pieces of tech and replace those first. It’s also worth thinking about which pieces are most valuable to your business – the machines that cost the most aren’t always the most crucial to your business operations. IT consultants will be able to recommend the ideal replacements for your business, based on your company needs and budgets.

Getting Rid of Your Old Machines

You also need to think about what you’re going to do with your old machines. The WEEE Directive requires safe disposal of all electronics, so simply throwing it all in a skip is not an option. We have a guide on what to do with your old computers on our blog, but we can also advise on and carry out technology disposal for you.

We have helped countless clients evaluate and plan out their IT equipment replacements – from single machines right up to company wide updates. If you are looking at updating your business technology and are looking for guidance, get in touch with us!